Sen. Graham wants Libya answers before confirming CIA head
South Carolina lawmaker speaks out
- Duration 7:09
- Date Jan 8, 2013
South Carolina lawmaker speaks out
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South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham has been one of the most ardent critics of how the administration has handled the Ben Ghazi attack.
He joins us live tonight from Columbia, South Carolina good evening senator.
Thanks for having me senator let's first start with your reaction to the release.
Of this Tunisian.
I really don't know if it's justified or not but it's been like pulling teeth.
To get the administration being gauge I have wrote the Tunisian government saying it was unacceptable not occur in an interview.
Without a lawyer then eventually did give the FBI access to this man.
I don't know the result of the interview but I'll try to get to the bottom of it and see if it was justified.
You know it didn't take much effort on my part to get the two nations to cooperate I can only imagine what would have happened.
If the president the United States had picked up the phone call and call the prime pick up phone and call the prime minister said this is a priority for our country.
Do you think that the administration that the national security.
Effort of this administration is really going after those responsible.
For the Benghazi Libya attack.
Doesn't seem to be that way they seem to -- -- be more focused on getting this episode behind them.
I don't have anything against John Brennan personally but I don't think we should appoint a CIA director.
Until the CIA clarifies who changed the talking points that we're given the Susan Rice -- -- for our election deleting references to al-Qaeda.
I've been told three stories that Director of National Intelligence office said they change the talking points.
-- the FBI said no it it might have been us because of an ongoing criminal investigation.
And the final answer so to state was the CIA believes they may have changed the talking points.
Deleting references to al-Qaeda.
I'm not going to confirm John Brennan or anyone else until the administration.
Shares information with the congress about who deleted references to al-Qaeda three weeks before the election.
I think it was purposely done and I wanna know who did it and why before we move -- so -- committed to holding that nomination.
-- and I don't want to but I'm not know what this administration get away.
From having to be held accountable the State Department you're going to hear from Hillary Clinton.
But who did change the talking points who did take al-Qaeda out and what did the president do Brett during the seven hours.
They're making two movies about is strong leadership in the bin Laden rate.
This administration -- every detail about the bin Laden -- so the whole world would know how strong their own national security.
When you have a major debacle like Ben -- you can't get the basic information for months later so I don't think they're pursuing the the offenders very aggressively quite frankly I think they're stonewalling the congress and John Brennan nor anyone else should be confirmed.
As acting to new director of the CIA until the CIA accounts for their role in changing the docking port.
Sender the white house Press Secretary was asked about the potential.
Hold -- of Brandon.
By you and your statement today the white house -- -- It would be unfortunate.
I think if in pursuit of this issue.
Which was highly politicized.
It's the senate would hold up the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency we certainly discussed a lot last year late in the year.
The essential irrelevance of the issue of what was said on a series of Sunday shows to what actually happened.
And then got C and this president is committed.
-- bit from those who were responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Libya.
Be brought to justice.
Your response that's and it was the president of the United States who take Susan Rice to go -- national television.
Three weeks before an election to say that the consulate in in Gaza was strongly significantly.
That this was a result of a spontaneous riot based on a video.
And that al-Qaeda had been decimated.
Those talking points did not relate to reality I think they were trying to create a narrative that not present -- -- -- had decimated al-Qaeda.
Today at the expense of the truth.
Four months later we don't know who took their references to al-Qaeda out three service agencies have been implicated in this.
And we're not moving forward do we get to the bottom of what happened have been -- -- The only leverage I have this -- nomination not a wanna hold up the nomination just for the heck of it I wanna find out who changed the talking points.
Deleting references to al-Qaeda.
The State Department has clearly indicated this place was a death trap what did the president do what did he know about being -- And what kind of leadership did he exert on nine elevenths.
What was he doing for seven hours it's not unfair to get answers to these questions this administration stonewalling the converse.
They're trying to get -- Gaza and there are behind them politically and their rear view mirror.
And -- gonna stand firm to get the basic cancers.
That should have been given to the congress months ago this is a big deal to -- we need to learn from what happened.
How this place became a death trap.
While we could respond on September 11 better than we did and -- -- -- Susan Rice and the president self.
Told stories for weeks after the attack that had no bases.
In reality senator do you know where the survivors.
Of the Ben Ghazi attack are today.
You know I don't know where the survivors are who they are.
And these survivors were interviewed the day after the attack in Germany and the CIA tell me they couldn't get the FBI interview because it was a criminal investigation.
Have we gone back to the pre 9/11.
Stove piping of intelligence for the FBI can't call the CIA to find out whether or not it was a terrorist attack.
This whole thing is a learning opportunity.
And I really do believe they don't president Obama's watch al-Qaeda has gotten stronger not weaker.
An exhibit day of leading from behind is being guys in -- more big guys he's to -- This was a death trap the agencies in question are not talking to each other than not sharing information.
With the American people and before we move forward with a new CIA director I want to know what the CIA did.
Regarding being Ghazi and who change those talking points who took al-Qaeda have a talking point.
Last thing senator F fifteen seconds you know pressure will build Democrats will start saying that this is a hold up and it is.
Hindering the president's ability to have his national security team at full strength.
How -- was -- I hope Democrats care about -- guys is much decided to find out what happened.
Why information was taken out of talking points that were really unjustified.
What did the president do -- learn together from -- -- debacle.
And not hide the facts from the congress and the American people hope Democrats understand this is an important -- Bin Laden raid deserves to be celebrated -- Gaza he deserves to be understood and explained.
Senator Graham thank you very much for your time.